Shanghai-upon-the-sea – Top Ten must see

re.krishnan 09 March 2012 1 comment

The showcase city of a nation with over 5000 years of history is bound to be staggering and a top ten list is hard to put together without leaving out something worthwhile. Shanghai is less a place of things to see and more a place of things to experience. Don’t be perturbed by the lack of color that hits you as you exit Shanghai Pudong International Airport, as the glass, concrete and grey quickly give way to innumerable splashes of red and green. Road signs are confusing but main arteries are clearly marked, so ask your hotel concierge or people you are staying with to give you a card with the Chinese names of all attractions written in large bold letters. This allows taxi drivers or locals to guide you effectively. The key is to enjoying Shanghai is walking as the journey to each destination is littered with fascinating glimpses into a unique culture. So arm yourself with a map and a bottle of water and begin your stroll through the most populated city in the world. This list is by no means exhaustive but it should cater to the artist, historian, shopper, bargainer and clubber in you.


Shanghai MuseumFor a country with a history as deep as China’s, Shanghai’s lack of   museums is glaring but Guangzhou and Beijing hoard much of the country’s ancient attractions. The recently built Shanghai Museum in People’s square is hoping to change some of that. With its distinctively modern façade built in the shape of a bronze vase acting as a contrast to its beautiful old world interior, the museum is by far one of the easiest I have found to navigate. The three floors have sections dedicated calligraphy, regional clothing, furniture, ceramics and currency. The museum can take days to consume so pick your interest to do each room proper justice. The calligraphy section is among the finest in the world but my personal favorite was the ceramics section as the Museum gives you a veritable crash course on Chinese dynastic history through its ceramics. Shanghai Museum, #201, Peoples Great Road

As you leave Shanghai museum, walk through People’s park and find your way to Nanjing Pedestrian road. This stone paved street is a contradiction in retail terms with one side boasting Häagen-Dazs while the other serves you fried sparrow and jellied pig feet- a true testament to the adage -“One country with two systems.” Don’t be surprised if you’re constantly approached by salesman hawking the latest Louis Vuitton. While the fakes are of lackluster quality, keep your handbag close if you still plan to follow one of them into a dimly lit alleyway.

Walking down Nanjing road will ultimately lead you to The Bund. Yes, it’s a tourist magnet and the resemblance to Westminster is somewhat uncanny, but if you manage to get there on a weekday, this one-mile stretch of historical buildings is the portal to understanding what China has tried to achieve in the last 30 years. On one side you have all of Shanghai’s major banks, the newly opened Waldorf Astoria hotel (erstwhile Shanghai club), consulates and the Masonic club. Across the boardwalk itself you have a fantastic view of Pudong Skyline with its Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Twilight is the perfect time to navigate the Huangpu river and witness Shanghai come to life at night as all of the Bund and Pudong are bathed in neon. The cruise departs from the Bund and sails to Huangpu Bridge in the south, turns and heads north towards Wusongkou and returns to the Bund for you to sink your teeth into some local chinese fare at the Shanghai Grandmother at 70 Fuzhou Lu.

More of my Shanghai top ten next week!

One Comment For This Post

  1. blackchecks blackchecks Says:

    I want to visit Shanghai! Gotta grab some tour package to shanghai or free and easy now! Have been wanting to visit china and especially shanghai for quite some times. thanks for your tips!

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Sign In

Amy Ma

Food & Drink + Hong Kong

Amy is a regular contributor to the South China Morning Post and Wall Street Journal amongst other publications. [...]

Pua Mench

Hong Kong

Pua is a writing and traveling enthusiast based in Hong Kong, with a weakness for all things related to the culinary arts and healing modalities, and a passion for sustainable living. [...]

Kim Inglis

Wellness Spa

Kim has been an editor and journalist for over 20 years, more than half of which has been spent in Asia. [...]

Nellie Huang

Travel Adventures + Singapore

Nellie has been published in Food & Travel magazine and Lifestyle, and is a contributing author of V!VA's Guatemala Guidebook. She writes to travel, and travels to write. [...]

Sarah Jane Evans

Travel Adventures + Borneo

She has published travel articles in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in publications including: Vacations and Travel magazine... [...]

Carrie Kellenberger

Photo Blog + Taiwan

She has traveled throughout Asia, finding work as a writer, editor, educator, voice over artist, photographer, and nightclub singer. [...]

Mark Lean

Kuala Lumpur

From writing about music, Mark expanded his focus to design, fashion, food and travel. In recent years, he has explored the highs and lows of Asia. [...]

Joel Quenby

Entertainment + Asia News

Joel is a British writer and journalist who's lived, worked and traveled in Southeast Asia since 2002. He's filed yarns for numerous publications...[...]

Alex Gunn

Chiang Mai

After several diverse careers as a circus performer, school teacher, psychotherapist, stunt pilot and university lecturer he can now be found poking about far flung markets, museums, restaurants and odd places in and around Chiang Mai.. [...]